Tenured professors, adjunct serfs

On Community College SpotlightTo stop the exploitation of adjuncts, end tenure for college instructors.

Also, an adjunct biology instructor wins $100,000 from the community college that fired her for discussing whether sexual orientation is inherited in a class on Human Heredity. (A student was offended.)

About Joanne


  1. SuperSub says:

    The tenure-adjunct debate is just one drop of many in a full bucket of problems with our college system.

    As long as colleges are able to charge outragous tuitions they will continue to pay narcissistic primadonnas who do little work for premium salaries while also paying misguided academics to do the actual work.

    Decreasing public funding for college education and preventing predatory private lending will sharply reduce demand for a college education as many will be unable to pay the current tuition. Facing sharp enrollment decreases, colleges will be forced to tighten their belts by expecting faculty to work for their pay and to cut the country club-like services that students receive. The lower living standards will cause students to stop going to college for the college ‘experience’ (getting drunk and laid), reducing the need for soft majors.
    Lower need for soft majors will allow colleges to lay off large parts of their staff, increasing the influence of the faculty from actual practical fields. Costs go down, allowing more middle and lower-class students to study majors that will actually be used to benefit themselves and society.
    Problem solved.

  2. Why are offended students even bothering with college? Geeze louise.

  3. SuperSub, you know the price of everything and the value of nothing. I pity your students and your children.

  4. But you know–if the student’s statement is accurate


    the adjunct spouted quite a bit of nonsense.

    “Professor Sheldon said there were hardly any gay men in the Middle East because women were treated very nicely.”

    WTF? If the student’s not lying, Sheldon’s got a dismal grasp of anthropology and science.

  5. Sorry to serial comment. Prof. Sheldon’s own statement doesn’t submit anything to back up the nonsense she said–instead, her main defense is that SJCC botched the investigation.


    I’m a fan of FIRE. I initially thought the student was protesting the very mention of homosexuality, but that’s not the case. Sheldon adlibbed some fake science, and the student objected. I’m not sure she should have been fired, but it was a pretty lackluster discussion.

    She’s got an MA, no PhD.

  6. If KateC-like administrators and students think professors should be reported to the admin everytime they say something that lacks logic or scientific fact than there are a whole lot of professors who should be worried. What is outrageous is tattle-tailing to college authorities because you are offended by some stupid statement. When did freedom to never be offended or hear nonsense (which is often in the ear of the beholder) become a right?

    I enjoy the historical mysteries written by Susanna Gregory. They are set in the 1300’s at Cambridge U. The teachers are constantly accusing each other of blasphemy and warning each other to not say anthing that would upset the King, the bishop or the chancellor if they want to keep their heads. As I read her books I feel like I’m in a time warp. This is what academia is becoming in America. Nice job.

  7. I agree with Kate C.
    I think this was absolutely the correct decision based on the fact that the college failed in the requirements of due process.

    However, if the students allegations are true, she really is a pathetic excuse for a scholar. (Note: perhaps the student’s account of the class is wrong… however, I did not read anything from the lecturer correcting the record.)

    Geena, this was a human biology professor spouting off not just offensive statements, but patently FALSE assertions stated as fact. If I was a student in her class, I would have definitely alerted her department chair.

    Was it a fireable offense? No, not in my opinion. And absolutely not if the college failed to follow its own policies concerning due process.

    Somehow, I bet if it was a liberal history professor spouting off nonsense about evil conservatives and injecting his personal unsubstantiated beliefs into the class, Geena would fully support his firing.

  8. Supersub…

    I am a physics prof at a public university in California (CSU system)… I am in my fourth year on the tenure-track (i come up for tenure in 2 more years). I work 50 hours a week (teaching classes, developing curriculum, grading assignments, advising undergraduate students, mentoring undergrads and M.S. students on research projects, serving on various committees in the university and on the national level, collaborating with local public middle schools and high schools on improving science education with rigorous content, writing grant proposals, writing 4 research papers per year that are published in refereed journals… I could go on and on.) I have a Ph.D. from a top 5 school in my field and my undergrad degree is an Ivy League degree.

    My after-tax salary this past year: $39,000 per year.
    And this is living in one of the highest cost-of-living cities in the nation.

    I LOVE my job… but…
    Yeah, tell me again how I am a lazy, overpaid academic who doesn’t earn my salary.

    Most untenured professors on the tenure track work their azzes off for very low pay, especially in comparison to what we could earn in the private sector. As I said, I love my job and have a calling to teaching, which is why I chose this path… but it really annoys the hell out of me when people such as yourself make gross generalizations about us lazy academics.

  9. LOL. Welcome to the club, jab.

  10. Mark Roulo says:

    I LOVE my job… but…

    Yeah, tell me again how I am a lazy, overpaid academic who doesn’t earn my salary.

    I think you may be one of the “misguided academics” who do the “actual work” right now. In two years, if all goes well, you will join the club of “narcissistic primadonnas.”

    Here’s hoping it all works out for you 🙂

    -Mark Roulo

  11. SuperSub says:

    God, I love being quoted so much.

    Jab, I wouldn’t say that you are necessarily one of the misguided academics, but instead an exception. Yes, I know I didn’t say that I was discussing 99%, 95%, or 80% of college professors, but did you really think I was condemning every single of the what, 100,000 (a non-educated guess) professors?

    Mike, I know full well the cost and value of a good college education… but also the cost and value (or lack thereof) of a poor college education. In general, the cost of a college diploma has inflated while its value deflated. I’ve had discussions with seniors with 71 averages with a solid grasp of 8th grade skill who were set on going to colleges… and got accepted too. The thought of doing something besides college to get a job was a completely foreign concept.

  12. No, Supersub… I am not the exception.
    This is pretty standard for all science, engineering, economics professors…

  13. Oh, come on. I know a prof at a UC, who gets paid very nicely. The fact is, if you’re a star, it pays very well. If you’re not a star, there’s tons of competition.

  14. Geena: If an electrical engineering instructor says Leonardo da Vinci painted the ceiling of the Sistine chapel, or a renaissance art instructor says Ohms law is I=VR, no big deal. The other way around, and I wouldn’t be “offended” but I couldn’t trust anything I’d learned in that class, and should get my tuition money back + compensation for wasted time. We all know that’s not going to happen, but at least I’d expect them to fire the screwball before he or she misinforms more classes.

    If accurately reported, Sheldon’s statements may or may not have been quite that egregious, but they are at least as bad as a modern art instructor who doesn’t know da Vinci from Michelango. If an investigation confirmed that was really what she said, it would call her competence into question. But the complaint rather stupidly focused on “offensive” rather than on “inaccurate”.

    If, as it appears, the administration investigation didn’t do much to check on the accuracy of the accusation, then we don’t actually know much about Sheldon’s competence, but we know enough about the administration’s…

  15. If I was paying for my education, and I had a prof like Sheldon, I’d ask for a refund. That the school is stuck with her strikes me as odd–are they really so desperate for a bio professor?

    There’s big gap between “blasphemy” and fake science. Does this school have student evaluations? I’d love to see if other students noticed Sheldon’s blathering.

    I’m really surprised FIRE defended this clown.


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